What’s the Deal with Eyeball Tattooing?
People are always pushing the envelope when it comes to self-expression through body modification. Sometimes the things they come up with seem shocking to mainstream culture, but it’s interesting to point out that many body modifications have historical precedents, and were being done long before body modification got a pop culture following. Eyeball tattooing is no exception.
The first references to eyeball tattooing date back to the Roman Empire, when doctors first began attempting to correct discolorations in the iris using dyes and stains. The practice wasn’t mentioned much between Roman times and the 19th century, when doctors again looked to eyeball tattooing to correct abnormalities in the appearance of the eye using needles and ink. Essentially, they were giving a tattoo, though they would not have called it that.
Adding pigment to the eye by filling individual needle holes with ink, as is done in a regular tattoo, has proven problematic. The more holes that get poked in the surface of the eye, the more likely it is that damage will occur.
A much better method was pioneered in 2007. Known as the injection method, this method allows for color to be applied to the sclera, or white of the eye, using a single injection point. Of course, there is no way to control exactly where the ink goes, so precise designs are not possible. But, interesting fade effects can be achieved, and what is lost in precision is made up for in the fact that the injection method is much less dangerous for the eye.
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